Using Acid to Cut a Precise Metal Part is a Modern Marvel
popular TV series Modern Marvels features the unique process of Chemical Etching in an upcoming episode
Chicago – September 26, 2007.
When looking at a small metal part, few people stop to consider how it
was made, but even fewer would guess it is cut using acid. However, that is exactly what is done at Fotofab, and
it is just the kind of unique ingenuity that Modern Marvels has been exploring for 13 seasons.
On October 1st, the popular History Channel TV Series will air an episode entirely devoted to the most
incredible uses of acids, including Fotofab’s unique process of “Photochemical Machining.”
Fotofab has been
making precision parts through chemical etching at its Chicago plant for over 40 years, making parts to be used in
anything from tanks to surgical instruments.
The process begins when a sheet of metal is coated with a polymer that is resistant to acid but sensitive to
When this sheet is exposed to light and put in a special solution, it creates a mask for the
This can create features as fine as .003” in any shape designed using computer drafting software.
Finally, the coated sheet is bathed in acid, leaving behind a sheet of precise metal parts to the exact
Although acids can be very dangerous, Fotofab’s commitment to safety and
environmental protection ensure that there is a safe work environment and the drain on natural resources is
Other benefits of this unique process over traditional forms of manufacturing include a faster
turnaround and lower cost, but as Modern Marvels viewers are sure to discover, it is also much more interesting.
The episode featuring photochemical etching will air Oct 1 on the History Channel.
Details, as well as more information about Modern Marvels, can be found at
For more information on Fotofab’s precision parts fabricating capabilities and to review Fotofab’s
Founded in 1967, Fotofab continues to refine the photochemical machining process, (also
known as chemical etching or milling) to produce custom precision metal parts in an efficient and environmentally
A veteran supplier to the aerospace, automotive, defense, electronic, telecommunications,
and medical manufacturing industries, Fotofab is among the leading suppliers of precision metal parts including
RF/EMI shields, electrical contacts, screens, connector housings, and more. Fotofab is ISO 9001:2000 certified.